Toshiba, the world’s third largest hard drive manufacturer, have revealed plans to develop and create a new type of consumer affordable hybrid storage drive for Ultrabooks.
With the aim of keeping the cost of manufacturing an Ultrabook line down, Toshiba has today confirmed that the company will be putting a new type of hybrid drive in to mass production very soon, with the company revealing that they have been testing new 750GB and 1TB hybrid drives, which could be available within Ultrabooks during 2013.
Hybrid drives are a combination of a good old fashioned (but high RPM) HDD and super fast SSD, a type of flash storage which is the future of quick boot up times and instant access to files, as seen in laptops such as Apple’s Macbook line and the ASUS Zenbook series of Ultrabooks. The problem with SSD storage is that it is expensive, and can make up 25% of the overall manufacturing cost of a new Ultrabook. Hybrid drives are the best of both world’s then, still enabling a machine to boot up in quick time yet the incorporation of a HDD to provide the vast majority of storage enables it to be cheap.
Another reason as to Toshiba looking in to 1TB hybrid drives is simple; currently SSD storage is not available above 512GB at a time. That’s because current SSD technology, under mSATA specification, has an effective capacity barrier of 512GB due to the size and format of SSD storage currently. Now Intel is already working on this issue, and is said to be working on a new NGFF (next generation form factor) for it, however for the time being Toshiba’s step of creating a high capacity hybrid drive is the most exciting due to the cost savings which will be passed on to consumers.
“Our number one target is the laptop market. Many users are moving to tablets, and to bring them back to laptops, instant start-up is very important,” said company spokesman Atsushi Ido.
“We will sell the hybrids at a price that is close to standard hard drives.”
During current testing of the new hybrid drives, Toshiba has noted that the current model is not compatible with the current crop of ultra-thin laptops on the market due to being ‘too big’. Toshiba have noted however that they hope to bring an Ultrabook viable version of them to market in 2o13, measuring a svelte 7-millimeter.
The success to Toshiba’s latest hybrid drives upon release will depend upon the companies pricing. Seagate currently sells hybrid storage with a capacity of 750GB for £102.90 online, and so Toshiba’s 1TB drive will have to come in at around this price point, or a little more, to stranglehold the market.
It will be interesting to see how Toshiba brings these new drives to market in 2013, and also interesting to see exactly how they are compiled; if you want our guess, in order to keep costs down, the hybrid storage options will have 8GB of SSD storage with the rest being pure HDD.